Lawrie and Thornton to go to the Youth Olympic Games

Rowers Chris Lawrie and Anna Thornton will represent their sport and the nation at the Youth Olympic Games taking place in Nanjing, China, from 16-28 August.

Lawrie, from Sir William Borlase’s Grammar School B.C. , and Thornton, from Nottingham R.C. who have both received SportsAid funding, are amongst the 33 athletes across 14 sports announced today by the British Olympic Association.

With many of the senior Team GB athletes already on their journey to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, the Youth Olympic Games play a crucial role in the development of young athletes and provides a multi-sport Games experience that helps them along the route to their own Olympic dreams.

Lawrie, who raced at the World Junior Championships last year, finishing 10th in the junior men’s quadruple scull and Thornton, who raced last year for GB in the annual international match against France, will be part of a wider team set to test themselves against around 3,600 of the finest young sportspeople from more than 200 other nations around the world.

For most of the team, who are all aged 15-18, this represents their first experience of an international multi-sport environment and they will all be hoping to emulate the likes of Jade Jones and Sam Oldham, who went from the podium at the YOG in Singapore four years ago to medal success at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

Former World Champion and Olympic medallist rower Sarah Winckless who is Chef de Mission of the overall TeamGB contingent for the Games said: “This is a great time to be a young British athlete and Nanjing 2014 provides the perfect springboard for budding Olympians to gain valuable experience at a multi-sport event and as part of Team GB.

“Youth Olympic Games such as Nanjing offer the chance for young athletes to experience life in an Olympic Village, mix with competitors from different sports and nationalities, and are given the chance to grow as individuals as well as athletes. These events have helped shape the careers of Team GB Olympic stars such as Jade Jones and we hope the same will be said for Nanjing.”

Robin Dowell, rowing team leader said: “It’s a fantastic opportunity for the two athletes to experience Olympic competition and being part of a multi-sport team event. This will be their first chance to do that, which is very exciting, especially for the junior rowers because it doesn’t really happen at their level. It’s also an opportunity to race outside the continent as until now their races would have been entirely in Europe, and I know this has helped athletes in the past make the step up to the next level.”

Chris Lawrie added: “Nanjing represents another fantastic learning opportunity for me at junior level so I’m excited to have been given the chance to go to China. Team GB have enjoyed so much success with rowing at Olympic level so it’s great to be a part of that.”

Anna Thornton said: “I am really looking forward to visiting Nanjing. It will be exciting to be surrounded by so many talented athletes from a wide range of sports. As well as racing, it will be a great cultural and social experience.”

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